(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Phillips Brooks, a study"

IILL 












BY WILLI 



^. F, M n ^ 



^ik. jtbXMXM 



T^ 



'.^ 1=1^ 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/phillipsbrooksstOOIawr_0 



iSp Willmm latorente, ^. T>. 



PHILLIPS BROOKS. A Study. i6mo, doth, 50 
cents, net. Postage extra. 

ROGER WOLCOTT. Illustrated with Portraits. 
i2mo, ^i.oo, nei. Postpaid, ^i.ii. 

LIFE OF AMOS A. LAWRENCE. With extracts 
from his Diary and Correspondence. With Portrait 
and Illustrations. Crown 8vo, $1.50. 

VISIONS AND SERVICE. Discourses delivered in 
Collegiate Chapels. i6mo, ^^1.25. 

HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & COMPANY 

Boston and New York 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 



;a ^tttO^ 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 

BY 

WILLIAM LAWRENCE, D.D. 

BISHOP OF MASSACHUSETTS 




BOSTON AKD NEW YOKK 
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY 

1903 



COPYRIGHT, 1903, BY WILLIAM LAWRENCE 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 



Published March^ igoj 



NOTE 

On the twenty-third day of January, 
1903, was observed the tenth anniver- 
sary of the death of Phillips Brooks. 

The Dioceses of Massachusetts and 
Western Massachusetts, over which, 
as one diocese, he had presided as 
Bishop, joined in a service of com- 
memoration in Trinity Church, Bos- 
ton. 

The multitude which gathered, 
crowding the church to the doors, 
the long procession of bishops and 
clergy, the presence of many other 
ministers and of representative citi- 
zens, bore witness to his living power 



vi NOTE 

and to the loyalty of the people to his 
memory. 

The address given at that service 
is in the following pages, published, 
with a few verbal changes since its 
delivery, at the request of the Stand- 
ing Committee of the Diocese of Mas- 
sachusetts. 

With all other interpreters of Phil- 
lips Brooks, I am under obligations to 
the Rev. Dr. A. V. G. Allen. 

WILLIAM LAWRENCE. 
Boston, February 12, 1903. 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 



TIME adjusts our vision and en- 
ables us to study men in new 
relations. The distant figure is often 
in better perspective and takes on 
truer proportions. The passage of 
even ten years throws into the back- 
ground many features once conspicu- 
ous, and reveals other deeper charac- 
teristics. 

With the rapid movement of life 
in these days, it is very seldom that 
at the end of ten years from his death 
a man is thus commemorated. This 
very fact suggests one rare feature in 
the character of Phillips Brooks, that 



2 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

of calling forth the best emotions and 
grateful sentiments. 

To many of you present in this 
church, which is so associated with 
him, his personal presence is vivid. 
His majestic figure in this pulpit, the 
action of his body, the tones of his 
voice, the animation of his face, and 
the glow of his imagery all come back 
as if it were yesterday. Some of you 
would prefer silence, that you might 
recall precious memories and gather 
from the past treasures of sympathetic 
words and hopeful messages, which 
you feel are peculiarly your own. 
You would like simply to thank God 
for the gift of his life, enter again into 
communion with him through Christ, 
and go quietly home. There was 
that about his personality, a divine 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 3 

possession, which kindled the faith of 
those who came in contact with him ; 
there was some subtle power in his 
companionship which those who have 
read his works, but who never met 
him, can never realize. 

There are others here, and many 
throughout the land, who, never hav- 
ing seen or heard him, have through 
his printed sermons reached deep into 
his thought and his interpretations of 
Christ, and who thank God for his 
message to them. He had no ambi- 
tion to add to the religious literature 
of the day. When, however, one 
realizes that over two hundred thou- 
sand volumes of his sermons and other 
writings are in the hands of the peo- 
ple and that many hundreds of thou- 
sands of his messages of all kinds are 



4 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

scattered throughout the homes and 
libraries of America and England, one 
catches a suggestion of the breadth 
and depth of his influence and of the 
gratitude of the people for his life. 
There is an ambition higher than that 
of the creation of so-called permanent 
literature : it is that of making a con- 
tribution towards the spiritual wealth 
of the people, the kindling of high 
ideals, and the increase of the power 
of Christ. Such spiritual power en- 
tering into man and transmitted to 
others is permanent. 

If the passage of these short ten 
years has enabled us to study Phillips 
Brooks in better perspective, may it 
not be well to place on record some 
of the results of the study? This, 
therefore, is what I ask of you, that 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 5 

in the light of these ten years we 
consider some of the deeper elements 
in the life and thought of Phillips 
Brooks, — elements that had such 
power twenty and thirty years ago as 
evidently to affect the life and thought 
of to-day. 

No true friend of his would claim 
that he was the only representative of 
these elements, or that he was always 
the leader. Some of the conditions 
and powers were in the intellectual 
and spiritual atmosphere, and his was 
a sensitive organization. With all 
this said, however, it is clear that he 
was one of the prophets of his time ; 
he spoke for God ; there were occa- 
sions when he stood on mountain tops 
and when his spiritual vision swept a 
horizon wider than that of his breth- 



6 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

ren. He was an interpreter of the 
truth to the spiritual experiences of 
men; he was a leader among those 
even who marched in the van ; and 
his leadership was greatest in the 
strength, simplicity, and beauty of his 
own character. 

In the first half of the nineteenth 
century, and even into the second 
half, there was no conception of the 
unity of the universe. As the stars 
were aloft and separate from all re- 
lations to the world, so to a great 
degree was God from man. The 
natural man had nothing in common 
with the spiritual man; there were 
two classes of men — the sinners and 
the saints. The two natures of Christ 
were not only sharply defined and 
fixed, but even separated, as in the 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 7 

effort to determine what he did and 
said as God and what he did and said 
as man. The Atonement was a trans- 
action as separate from man as the 
proceedings of a judicial court are 
from the people. Theology had as 
little relation to life as dogma had to 
ethics. The members of the Church 
were the elect; all others were given 
over to the uncovenanted mercies of 
God. Under these conditions Phil- 
lips Brooks was educated, although 
the rich piety and sympathy of his 
home tempered somewhat the rigor 
of contemporary thought. 

In the very texture of his life, in- 
wrought through generations of prayer 
and piety, was faith in God. From 
childhood he lived in the very pre- 
sence of God; pure in life, rich in 



8 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

imagination, throbbing with spiritual 
aspirations, he brooded over the prob- 
lems of God, the Atonement, and the 
relation of Christ to his Father and to 
man. 

His conception of an infinite, lov- 
ing, heavenly Father, a merciful Sa- 
viour, and a world of men, women, 
and little children would not adjust 
itself to the prevailing theology. He 
recognized in the break of the liberals 
from the old standards a healthy reac- 
tion, and he sympathized with much 
in it : but that did not for him meet 
the situation; there was something 
provincial, limited, and sectarian about 
it all. He held back from close rela- 
tions to the Church, and sustained a 
deep reserve on religious questions. 
German thought v/as as yet unknown 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 9 

to him. As he was brooding and 
searching among the Ubraries, Cole- 
ridge and Wordsworth fell into his 
hands; then Maurice and Tennyson, 
Bacon and the ancient philosopher 
Philo, Bushnell and Robertson. With 
one and another of these his poetic 
instincts were aroused; his imagina- 
tion leaped at the revelations, and 
there opened to him a new heaven 
and a new earth, bound together, in- 
terwoven by the eternal principles of 
God's love and righteousness. His 
possession of these truths was not so 
much by the reason as by the spir- 
itual apprehension of the whole man : 
he laid hold of them, reveled in them, 
dreamed them, and lived them. He 
had worshipped God and prayed to 
God, — now he discovered that he 



10 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

was living in God. The world had 
seemed to be the reality, and God 
the distant spirit. Now God was to 
him the only reality ; the spirit was 
life, and Nature with all her beauty 
was the radiant expression of God's 
glory. The whole universe was the 
living, throbbing expression of his 
power and love ; all were bound to- 
gether in a common purpose, with 
God as their centre. The world was 
not Satan's, but God's; it was his 
from the beginning. 

His spiritual sympathies turned to 
man's relation to God. The theology 
of Calvinism ran in his blood. He 
faced the problems, Was man the 
child of Satan, or of God ? Was 
man by nature given over to sin only 
to become God's child by some pro- 



PHILLIPS BROOKS ii 

cess of conversion or the acceptance 
of some theory of the Atonement ? 
The answers came to him clearer 
and clearer as his thought matured. 
Man was by his very birth the child 
of God; sin was the intruder. Men 
through their sin estranged them- 
selves from the Father, as did the 
prodigal ; therein were the horror 
and punishment of sin. But in his 
very nature man was from God, made 
in his image, akin to his substance 
or nature. The eternal fatherhood of 
God was the burden of his preaching. 
From the beginning Christ Jesus was 
of God and with God — very man, 
very God. From the very essence of 
his loving fatherhood, God sent forth 
his Son, who took upon himself the 
form of man and lived among men. 



12 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

It was the oneness of the spiritual na- 
ture of man with God that enabled 
each to know the other. " We talk 
about men's reaching through Nature 
up to Nature's God. It is nothing 
to the way in which they may reach 
through manhood up to manhood's 
God and learn the divine love by the 
human." ^ " A brute race could have 
seen no Incarnation. . . . ' Because we 
are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit 
of his Son into our hearts.' Because 
we are sons, his Son himself could 
take our nature upon him." ^ 

" I am the light of the world — a 
thousand subtle, mystic miracles of 
deep and intricate relationship be- 
tween Christ and humanity must be 

^ Sermons y vol. v. p. 51. 
^ lb., vol. i. p. 240. 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 13 

enfolded in these words; but over 
and behind and within all other mean- 
ings, it means this : the essential rich- 
ness and possibility of humanity and 
its essential belonging to divinity." ^ 

The truth of the Incarnation was 
the central truth of his life, thought, 
and preaching. For him it solved the 
pressing problems of life and nature, 
and knit the universe, God, and his 
creation into living unity. 

It was this fundamental truth, 
bound up as it is in the fact of the 
divine sonship of man, that led him 
to his belief in the value of the hu- 
man soul, which, you remember, 
marked the climax of his Lectures 
on Preaching. With the movement 
of science the individual was losing 

^ Sermons y vol. v. p. 4. 



14 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

his value. Phillips Brooks threw 
himself just then into that breach 
with all his power, and affirmed the 
essential value of the individual. This 
gave him the evangelical element in 
his message ; this emphasized the 
direct responsibility of each soul to 
God, and enabled him while preach- 
ing to the larger world to bring his 
words home to the conscience and 
aspirations of each man, woman, and 
child within sound of his voice. 

It was this, too, that made him a 
source of inspiration to all workers 
in the uplifting of the down-trodden. 
He had very little interest in preach- 
ing upon the methods and work of 
social service, deeply as he was in- 
terested in those who were carrying 
them out. His mission was to reach 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 15 

the deeper motives and strike the 
springs of enthusiasm, not so much 
for humanity in the abstract as for 
men, God's children ; and through his 
preaching the springs gushed forth. 

He had an unwavering belief in the 
presence of the Holy Spirit brooding 
over, guiding, and energizing in the 
midst of men and of Christ's Church. 
The Spirit was in the world to-day 
as really and as evidently as at Pen- 
tecost or in the Middle Ages. The 
Spirit was revealing truth from every 
source of thought and life. He was 
the Spirit of Truth. Hence Phillips 
Brooks had unbounded confidence in 
the Church, if only she would keep 
ear and heart open to the voice and 
influence of the Spirit. Thus he was 
led to his faith in the Trinity, not as 



i6 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

the description of God (for what mor- 
tal can describe God?), but as the 
description of what we know of God. 
" I should," he said, " count any Sun- 
day's work unfitly done in which the 
Trinity was not the burden of our 
preaching. For when we preach the 
fatherhood of God, we preach his 
divinity ; when we point to Christ, 
the perfect Saviour, it is a divine Re- 
deemer that we declare ; and when we 
plead with men to hear the voice and 
yield to the persuasions of the Holy 
Spirit, the Comforter, into whose com- 
fort we invite them, is divine. The 
divinity of Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost, this is our gospel. By this 
gospel we look for salvation. It is a 
gospel to be used, to be believed in, 
and to be lived by ; not merely to be 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 17 

kept and admired and discussed and 
explained." ^ 

Believing as he did in God, and in 
all men as the children of God, he al- 
ways had before him the ideal man- 
hood, the ideal church. He broke 
away from the conception of the 
Church as a body of men separate, 
set apart from their fellows as the re- 
ligious and the saved, the body of the 
elect. On the contrary, " The Church 
is no exception and afterthought in 
the world, but is the survival and 
preservation of the world's first idea, 
— the anticipation and prophecy of 
the world's final perfectness. The 
Church of Christ is the ideal human- 
ity. Say not that it leaves out the 
superhuman. I know no ideal hu- 

^ Sermons y vol. i. p. 228^ 



i8 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

manity that is not filled and pervaded 
with the superhuman. God in man 
is not unnatural, but the absolutely 
natural. That is what the Incarna- 
tion makes us know." ^ 

The sacraments of the Church are 
therefore the symbols of the recogni- 
tion of the fact that each child is a 
child of God and hence a member 
of his church, and also of the contin- 
ual gift of Christ to those who feed 
on him and his strengthening power. 
"The unity of his believers to the 
end of time is still to have the secret 
of its existence in the personal rela- 
tion between each of them and him. 
To help this invisible relation to real- 
ize itself and not to be all lost in the 
unseen, the gracious kindness of the 

^ Quoted in the Life^ vol. ii. p. 659. 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 19 

Master provides two symbols which 
thenceforth become the pledges at 
once of the personal believer's be- 
longing to the Lord and of the be- 
longing of believers to each other. 
The sacraments are set like gems to 
hold the Church into its precious 
unity." ^ Those of you who have 
witnessed the baptism of an infant by 
him, who have perhaps followed him 
to the cradle of a dying child, re- 
call the tenderness of his voice, the 
deep emotion and the reality of the 
rite. Beneath the words sounded the 
note of deep conviction and love. It 
was no defense of an empty rite but 
the conviction of a vital truth that 
prompted his words upon the baptism 
of a dying child: "Baptism is the 

^ Sermons^ vol. v. p. 179. 



20 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

solemn, grateful, tender recognition, 
during the brief moments of that in- 
fant's life on earth, of the deep mean- 
ings of his humanity. It is the human 
race in its profoundest self-conscious- 
ness welcoming this new member to 
its multitude. Only for a few mo- 
ments does he tarry in this condi- 
tion of humanity ; his life touches the 
earth only to leave it; but in those 
few moments of his tarrying, human- 
ity lifts up its hand and claims him, 
. . . appropriates for him that re- 
demption of Christ which revealed 
man's belonging to God, declares him 
a member of that church which is 
simply humanity, as belonging to 
God." ' 

The Lord's Supper was to Phillips 

^ Sermons, vol. iv. pp. 43 and 44. 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 21 

Brooks the great high feast of Christ, 
the Head of humanity. It belonged, 
then, not to any one body of Chris- 
tians; no single denomination had a 
right to restrict it ; it belonged ideally 
to all humanity and practically to every 
man who claimed Christ as his Mas- 
ter and Saviour, and who tried to live 
in Christ's spirit. Each denomination 
held it in trust for Christ and his fol- 
lowers. Hence his welcome, given 
never in his own name, but in ac- 
cordance with what he believed to be 
the law as well as the spirit of his 
church, to all Christian people to par- 
take of its blessings. 

Whether Christ himself appointed 
three orders of the ministry was to him 
of little moment as compared with the 
great truth that in the unfolding of 



22 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

the life of the Church the ministry 
had evolved through the guidance 
and power of the Holy Spirit and 
under the leadership of Christ. To 
him the ministry was therefore di- 
vinely ordered and guided. 

In this short and very imperfect 
sketch of the deeper features of his 
faith I may have seemed to try to do 
what Phillips Brooks always claimed 
was impossible, — disentangle a man's 
faith, beliefs, and aspirations from the 
other elements of his life. Such, of 
course, has not been my purpose. His 
beliefs were interwoven with the very 
texture of his whole life and character. 
There was no scrap of his creed that 
did not have its vital relation with 
his life, and no little act of each day 
that did not have its vital relation 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 23 

with some of the deepest truths of his 
faith. 

This, then, is what I have been try- 
ing to set forth as the first great con- 
tribution of PhiUips Brooks to the 
religious thought of his day. First, 
the reahzation of the unity of the uni- 
verse — God, man, and nature inex- 
tricably interwoven, spiritual and ma- 
terial, a living organism, working out 
God's purpose. And bound up in 
the first, the unity of man, divine and 
human, spiritual and physical, the in- 
dissolubility of his personality. 

Those who are young and who have 
been educated in these thoughts can 
have no conception of the relief, light, 
and exhilaration that they brought to 
the past generation ; they were the dis- 
pelling of darkness by the light of the 



24 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

rising sun. The scriptures took on a 
new meaning ; the thought of how the 
whole creation groaned and travailed 
until the coming of Christ was a reve- 
lation; the sympathy of nature and 
man in the Incarnation touched the 
hearts of children, and ten thousand 
of them caught up his carol and burst 
into song : — 

'* For Christ is born of Mary, 

And gathered all above. 
While mortals sleep, the angels keep 

Their watch of wondering love. 
O Morning Stars, together 

Proclaim the holy birth! 
And praises sing to God the King 

And peace to men on earth." 

Such a conception of the unity of 
God's universe may sometimes seem 
to touch the borders of pantheism; 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 25 

error is but the over-emphasis of truth. 
The Christian faith has, however, al- 
ways been safeguarded by the concep- 
tion of personality, the personality of 
God and of man. 

You recall the emphasis of Phillips 
Brooks upon the vital worth of per- 
sonality in the preacher : " Preaching 
is the communication of truth by man 
to men. It has in it two essential ele- 
ments, truth and personality. . . . How- 
ever the gospel may be capable of 
statement in dogmatic form, its truest 
statement is not in dogma but in per- 
sonal life. Christianity is Christ." ^ 

It was this truth of the unity of 
man's personality that gave to the peo- 
ple of his day a new and more Chris- 
tian conception of the relation of man 

^ Lectures on Preachings pp. 5 and 7. 



26 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

to death and to the life to come. There 
was aroused in all who heard him a 
new sense of the dignity and the re- 
sponsibility of manhood and a serene 
confidence in God's regard for man. 

Through this truth we are brought 
naturally to the second contribution 
of Phillips Brooks to the thought and 
life of his day; it sounds common- 
place now, almost unworthy of men- 
tion, so thoroughly has it become a 
part of the texture of our life. I 
mean his complete confidence in God 
as the God of truth, and in Christ as 
indeed the Truth. 

Some of you have no conception 
of the dread that from time to time 
was felt by Christian people at the 
discovery of truths which might be 
antagonistic to the Christian faith. 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 27 

When some new and bold statement 
of science was made, almost the whole 
Christian world shuddered at its pos- 
sible result. It was a time, many- 
thought, for the strengthening of the 
old defenses. The recent death of 
Archbishop Temple has reminded us 
of the extreme sensitiveness of the 
Church at the publication of the " Es- 
says and Reviews." Frankly, there 
was a latent and very deep spirit of 
scepticism in the Church, which dis- 
trusted the truth, and which mistrusted 
as to whether the fundamental belief 
in God and Christ were the truth. 
The dominating spirit of the nine- 
teenth century, the restless search for 
truth, continued to rise, however, and 
the two forces were bound to meet. 
Young men were looking for lead- 



28 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

ers, for prophets who were above the 
smoke of the battle. Among others, 
and, for some of us, above others, was 
heard the voice of Phillips Brooks. 
His message was that God is truth 
and righteousness and love. What- 
ever truth is discovered, and from 
whatever source revealed, it is of God. 
Man must keep mind and heart ever 
open to new revelations of God. He 
had little sympathy with the efforts so 
to interpret the truths of science as to 
patch up and adjust the scriptures and 
articles of faith from time to time. He 
had too much confidence in the essen- 
tial spiritual truths beneath the state- 
ments of the faith of the Church. He 
had no patience with that man or 
church who was timidly asking of 
present thought, "Is it orthodox?" 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 29 

The vital question was, " Is it true?"^ 
And as Christ is Light, the Church 
and men cannot hide behind dog- 
mas and tradition, but must come 
forth and speak and reason in the 
light. His own verse reveals his atti- 
tude : — 

** Truth keeps no secret pensioners; whoe'er 
Eats of her bread must wear her livery too. 
Her temple must be built where men can see; 
And when the worshipper comes up to it. 
It must be in broad noonlight, singing psalms 
And bearing offerings, that the world may know 
Whose votaries they are and whom they praise. ' ' 2 

Having, therefore, this complete 
confidence in the truth, and living in 
communion with the God of truth, 

^ Essays and Addresses y p. 1 96. 
^ Life, vol. i. p. 243. 



30 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

fired as he was with the love of God 
and of men, he was impelled to preach 
and speak with all the abandonment 
of a man who is clear as to his cause, 
and the end of the battle, but per- 
fectly regardless of the present results 
either to himself or to his fellows. 
It was this that gave him that posi- 
tive and assertive power. Men com- 
plained that he did not reason with 
cool logic, but that he swept them 
along with him by the power of his 
conviction and his personality. It is 
true; for highly as he esteemed the 
reason, he always felt that other qual- 
ities entered into the discussion of 
truth — moral and spiritual qualities ; 
and because of his possession of these 
he made them the reinforcement of 
his argument. This confidence in God 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 31 

as the God of truth was also the se- 
cret of what some felt to be his dan- 
ger, — that of entering into the camp 
of the enemy. He had nothing of the 
latent scepticism and timidity which 
feel that truth must necessarily be 
contaminated by contact with error 
or that Christ is compromised by the 
recognition of truth embedded in er- 
ror. He had such confidence in his 
own faith in Christ that he had no 
hesitation in recognizing, ay, rather 
welcoming gladly, any ray of truth 
from whatever source it came. He 
believed so firmly in his Church, too, 
her creeds and standards, that he was 
confident that she would with him 
welcome truth from the agnostic, the 
Calvinist, the Unitarian, or any other 
sincere truth - seeker. To speak in 



32 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

glowing eloquence of the character 
and the personal faith of James Free- 
man Clarke, a Unitarian and one of 
the spiritual leaders of Boston, was 
the most natural thing in the world. 
It never occurred to him that in so 
speaking he would be held respon- 
sible for the theology of Dr. Clarke, 
from certain features of which he dif- 
fered fundamentally. His object was 
the glad recognition by the Church 
of a character full of love, purity, and 
self-sacrifice, and by such recognition 
he believed that the Church is always 
the richer. 

It was, too, this complete confi- 
dence in the God of truth that made 
him the interpreter and the exemplar 
of tolerance. Through life he thought 
much over the bigotry of some of the 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 33 

champions of the faith, of their perse- 
cution of the seekers for truth, and of 
the nerveless quahty of some of those 
who were called most tolerant in his 
day. There was a feeling abroad that 
depth and strength of religious con- 
viction necessarily created a spirit of 
intolerance, and that the true road to 
charity was through the broad path of 
indifference to truth and creed. 

His studies of the character of 
Christ had shown him how mistaken 
this assumption was, for no one was 
ever more convinced of the truth or 
more positive in his statements of his 
faith than was Jesus, and none ever 
lived so tolerant of the sincere con- 
victions of others. As was his habit, 
Phillips Brooks took the position not 
of defense but of offense. The two 



34 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

essentials of a tolerant spirit were, 
as he put them, " first, positive con- 
viction; and, second, sympathy with 
men whose convictions differ from 
our own." ^ " We want to assert 
most positively that, so far from ear- 
nest personal conviction and gen- 
erous tolerance being incompatible 
with one another, the two are neces- 
sary each to each." ^ With him, how- 
ever, no discussion reached its true 
plane until it had struck the level of 
personality and religion. " True tol- 
erance consists in the love of truth 
and the love of man, each brought to 
its perfection, and living in perfect 
harmony with one another ; but these 
two great affections are perfect and in 
perfect harmony only when they are 

^ Tolerance y p. 7. ^ lb, p. 9. 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 35 

orbed and enfolded in the yet greater 
affection of the love of God." ^ "I 
have tried to show not merely that a 
man may be cordially tolerant and yet 
devoutly spiritual, but also that a man 
cannot attain to the highest tolerance 
without being devoutly spiritual." ^ 
" The hope of tolerance lies in the ad- 
vancing spirituality of man." ^ " We 
may adjust relations as we will; we 
may decide just how far we can coop- 
erate with this or that heretic. ... It 
is all surface work. . . . Only a deeper 
vitality, a richer filling of our spirits 
with the spirit of God; an assurance 
of the possible divineness of the hu- 
man life by an experience of how 
richly it may be filled with divinity, — 

1 1^, p. 25. 2 j^^ pp^ ^5 <^nd 47. 

* U. p. 57. 



36 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

only this can make us be to our breth- 
ren and make them be to us all that 
God designed." ^ 

It was this same confidence in God, 
the truth, that kept him serene during 
the apparent victories of doubt and 
scepticism. Throughout his active 
life in the ministry, the attitude of 
the Christian world towards nature, the 
scriptures, and man was revolution- 
ized ; even now our memories and 
imaginations can scarcely grasp the 
change. Phillips Brooks stood to 
many as the leading interpreter of 
evangelical truth; hundreds of people 
who felt themselves sinking into un- 
belief turned to him with the despera- 
tion of drowning men. All this time 
his attitude was changing, he was 

^ lb, pp. 109 and no. 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 37 

thinking and living his faith out to 
its conclusion ; nevertheless, so firm 
was his hold upon the deeper spirit- 
ual truths, so strong his grasp upon 
God, so close his sympathy with 
Christ, that he guided and, in spite of 
himself, even carried others while he 
moved also himself; and always un- 
ruffled, serene, and full of hope. For 
if God is the truth, then whatever the 
present troubles, the truth will be re- 
vealed and will prevail. The man of 
God must be a man of hope. 

So in their sorrows and losses he 
became to the people the interpreter 
of the God of comfort. Never weak, 
always positive, he led the mourner 
away from self to higher thoughts and 
larger responsibilities. 

Another contribution of Phillips 



38 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

Brooks was the emphasis of the natu- 
ralness and healthiness of the religious 
life. We need not recall the theology 
of the last century, the natural man at 
enmity with God, children by the fact 
of their birth shut out of the kingdom, 
religion a supplement to life, artificial, 
conventional, the fabrication of adult 
morbid brains. We need not remind 
ourselves either that the truth of man's 
divine sonship had already begun to 
be preached in some quarters. It was 
the work of Phillips Brooks to take 
that truth of man's divine sonship, 
therefore man's simple natural instinct 
for God, of the religious man, as the 
most manly, most human man — up- 
lift it before the people, iterate and 
reiterate it until even the dullest could 
comprehend, while the more spiritual 



i-^ 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 39 

leaped and embraced it as one of the 
revelations that they had longed for. 
His work was to bring before men 
the typical man, Christ Jesus ; for his 
was the simplest, most natural, most 
healthy life, because from beginning 
to end it dwelt in God. That the 
subject of his first sermon should be 
"The Simplicity that is in Christ" was 
an almost foregone conclusion. The 
motive of the Christian was of the 
simplest : " Religion is the life of man 
in gratitude and obedience and con- 
sequent growing likeness to Jesus 
Christ." ^ How familiar it all sounds 
to us now ! It was new and fresh 
then. " Christianity seeks not to cramp 
man's nature, saying to him constantly 
' Thou shalt not,' but it leads on, up to 

^ Essays and Addresses, p. 40. 



40 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

freer air and wider space, wherein the 
soul may disport itself. It is God we 
follow ; obeying God is freedom." ^ 
His appeal was constant for the sim- 
ple, natural, richer life. " Pray for and 
work for fullness of life above every- 
thing; full red blood in the body; 
full honesty and truth in the mind, 
and the fullness of a grateful love for 
the Saviour in your heart." ^ 

We can clearly see how this truth 
led up to his conception of sainthood, 
so different from that which has often 
prevailed in the Church, so different 
from that which was in the Church 
when he began to preach. "The spir- 
itual life of man in its fullest sense is 
the activity of man's whole nature un- 

^ Address at Johns Hopkins University. 
^ Lifcy vol. ii. p. 178. 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 41 

der the highest spiritual impulse, viz., 
the love of God." ^ Men of strength 
and power, not nerveless and effemi- 
nate creatures, are the true types of 
saintliness. "I would present true 
sainthood to you as the strong chain of 
God's presence in humanity, running 
down through all history, and mak- 
ing of it a unity, giving it a large and 
massive strength able to bear great 
things and to do great things too." ^ 

Phillips Brooks was a prophet of 
God, a preacher of Christ to men. He 
is claimed, and by right, as the spir- 
itual guide of people of all churches 
and of no church. His message and 
influence passed over all denomina- 
tional boundaries. Thousands out- 

^ Essays and Addresses, p. 21. 
^ Sermons y vol. i. p. 177. 



42 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

side of his own church looked to him 
as their religious interpreter and pas- 
tor, and he gratefully accepted the 
fact. He had, as we have seen, very 
little interest in efforts for Christian 
unity by adjustments or ecclesiastical 
treaties and alliances. His whole tem- 
per and his faith in the reality of spir- 
itual powers compelled him to empha- 
size the unity of the spirit. " No," he 
said, " the real unity of Christendom 
is not to be found at last in identity 
of organization, nor in identity of 
dogma. Both of those have been 
dreamed of, and have failed; but in 
the unity of spiritual consecration to 
a common Lord." ^ No one church, 
therefore, can claim him as exclu- 
sively hers. He belonged to the 

^ Tolerance y p. 55. 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 43 

Christian world of the nineteenth cen- 
tury. 

To say, however, that he was in- 
different as to ecclesiastical relations 
and that his hold upon his own 
church was simply one of accident 
is to do him injustice and to misun- 
derstand his whole conception of the 
Church; for he believed that it was 
only by standing where one is, by 
certitude and conviction, that one can 
really sympathize with and under- 
stand others. It is only the loyal pa- 
triot who can understand the patriot- 
ism of other peoples ; it is only the 
faithful Christian of firm conviction 
who can have true tolerance for the 
sincere beliefs of the heathen; it is only 
the loyal churchman who can really 
and intelligently sympathize with the 



44 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

earnest members of other churches and 
with those who claim no church. His 
quickness and frankness in pointing 
out the weaknesses in his own church 
arose, as he himself said again and 
again, from a deep sense of loyalty to 
her; the friend who cannot be frank 
with his friend is no true friend. And 
he had that confidence in the Church 
which assured him that she would 
gratefully welcome the sympathetic 
and honest correction. 

He was at home in his church. 
He was perfectly conscious that he 
could be at home in no other. His 
whole temperament, his grasp of the 
historic significance of the Church, his 
conceptions of the Christian life and 
religious culture, his sense of propor- 
tion and of spiritual unity, his love 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 45 

of order, his conservative instincts, his 
artistic and poetic temperament, were 
satisfied in the Episcopal Church. To 
him a church with elaborate creeds 
was a house of bondage, and a church 
without creed was unthinkable; he de- 
manded a creed so fundamental and 
so simple that in the stress of history 
it could hold the Church to the deep 
truths of the faith and at the same 
time could be continually filled with 
fresh spiritual thought and interpreted 
by new revelations of the truth. Peo- 
ple who did not know or understand 
him sometimes said that he was res- 
tive in the Church and unsympathetic 
with its life. There were times when 
he was restive under certain limited 
conceptions of the Church, and he was 
occasionally unsympathetic with cer- 



46 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

tain popular features of what are 
sometimes called churchly thought 
and habits; but he never had any 
other thought than that in the Church 
he was happy and at home. Of 
course he was there by right, and his 
loyalty to her and to what he firmly 
believed were her historic principles 
never wavered. 

To those ministers, laymen, and 
theological students who turned to 
him with their doubts as to whether 
they had a right to remain in the 
Church, and who quoted the language 
of this or that churchman of the day, 
his unfailing answer was, "Why do 
you listen to him ? No one man or 
group of men is the authoritative in- 
terpreter of the Church's standards. 
Look to your Prayer Book ; what do 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 47 

you find there ? Study it, interpret 
it by the history of the Church, and 
then and not till then make your deci- 
sion/' No churchman of his genera- 
tion had a deeper, more intelligent, 
more loyal devotion to the Prayer 
Book than Phillips Brooks. It was 
to him as were the scriptures, not a 
book of legal bondage, but of spirit- 
ual liberty. 

That his influence among Christian 
people of all names was enhanced by 
the fact that he was in the ministry of 
the Episcopal Church, and of no other 
body, is evident. For that position 
gave him a standing ground well apart 
and disassociated from the theological 
differences of New England. He was 
saturated with New England's theo- 
logical thought, and could interpret 



48 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

Protestant America to herself; at the 
same time, his official position asso- 
ciated him with what was finest in 
the history of English-speaking peo- 
ples. 

It was only natural, therefore, that 
he who represented in so noble a way 
the highest traditions of the Church 
in England, and in his own country, 
should be consecrated a bishop. The 
wonder to us now is that any one 
should have thought differently. It 
is not strange, however, that his posi- 
tion should have been misunderstood 
by some; that is usually the lot of 
great men. And there are always 
those who are not conscious of the 
Church's historic comprehension of 
different types of thought. Looking 
back now, however, we see how nat- 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 49 

urally he takes his place in the line 
of great bishops who have enriched 
the historic life of the Church. 

One more feature in the charac- 
ter of Phillips Brooks I mention, and 
with some hesitation, for it can best 
be illustrated by a leaf from my ex- 
perience as his successor in the epis- 
copate. 

When it became my duty to follow 
him in the visitation of the churches, 
I found, of course, a deep sense of 
personal bereavement among all the 
people and an abounding loyalty to 
his memory. Rising, however, well 
above these sentiments, and dominat- 
ing them, were a spiritual temper in 
the people, a religious enthusiasm, and 
a consecration to Christ. Through 
his episcopate Massachusetts had been 



50 PHILLIPS BROOKS 

lifted Godward. This, it seems to me, 
was the climax of his powers, the finest 
illustration of his lifelong character, 
— that of tuming men from himself 
to Christ, from the preacher to the 
Master. During his life he received 
such adulation as has been the lot of 
few men ; and since his death he has 
been held in tender memory by thou- 
sands. His name is still heard in 
the homes, the colleges, the jails, and 
hospitals ; but whenever his name is 
spoken, whenever his figure comes 
to memory, there is always in the 
background, uplifted, dominant and 
living, the form and spirit of his 
Master, Christ; the eye and thought 
instinctively turn from one to the 
other. 

Through the pure and simple char- 



PHILLIPS BROOKS 51 

acter of Phillips Brooks we look 
steadfastly into the infinitely richer, 
purer, and more glorious character, 
his Master, Jesus Christ. 



Electroiyped and printed by H. O. Houghton &^ Co* 
Cambridge i Mass., U". S. A, 



0£ 



\